Forgiving those who’ve committed wrongs against you doesn’t necessarily guarantee and easier life. You may still have to deal with a difficult boss, wife, in-laws, or kids. You still have to deal with the every day stresses of life. There are pressures beyond your control that will wear you down if you aren’t careful to release them to God. So what can you do?
Our brother in Christ, the apostle Paul, gave us a strategy to help us deal with the troubles of daily life. He wrote: ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7).
This verse gives you the image of a guard patrolling your heart and mind. When the guard of prayer is in place it will keep out the pressing anxieties of life. If this guard isn’t in place, pain and worry will result.
What pressures are weighing on you? Are you talking to God about them or are you numbing yourself through things like video games, porn, alcohol, overeating, or overspending? Just as you must continually forgive, you also have to continually release your worries and specific needs to God. He will, in turn, protect you and give you the peace that passes all understanding.
Have you chosen to seek God and surrender to him?Are you seeking His direction of your life?Even if you are, if you’re like me you probably still choose to take the occasional detour.Do you continue to keep options open to do things you know you shouldn’t be doing?Living a life like that will fill you with guilt, shame, anxiety, fear and keep you from living the abundant life.
In order to help you guard against this kind of behavior, James wrote, ‘So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done’.
Don’t you love James? He doesn’t sugar coat things. He gives us a coat of tough love.
Even those of you mature in the faith face decisions and have to make choices every day.It’s both the hardest and easiest thing you’ll ever do. In your surrender, you draw close to Him, and in turn He’ll draw close to you, just as James tells us.
When Jesus began His public ministry at about thirty years of age, He left the security of home for the uncertainties of life on the road. But during His travels, there was one place he loved to visit: that little house in the village of Bethany where His friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus lived. The three were siblings, and we learn how close Jesus was to them when Lazarus died.
The sisters sent a message to Jesus that Lazarus was sick; but by the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was dead, and they were mourning his death. Martha and Mary rushed out to meet Jesus and expressed their frustration that He hadn’t come earlier.
The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw how sad the sisters and other mourners were, that ‘He was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled.’ He was indignant because He, Jesus, who created life, was dealing with death—a stark contradiction of everything that He is and stands for. Jesus was saddened by Mary and Martha’s grief, and by Lazarus’ suffering. Jesus wept openly for His friend, prompting onlookers to say, ‘See how much he loved him.’
Are you grieving the loss of someone you love? We would consider it our great privilege to share the love and wisdom of Christ with you. Please prayerfully consider joining us at our next New Life Weekend.